So, after a year of having jumped into creating a webcomic for the very first time, I’ve learned a thing or two that I wish someone had told me before I set out on this journey, that might have made things a little easier. Now, I want to start by saying that in no way shape or form do I consider myself a vast repository of magical knowledge – quite the contrary. But, I shared these thoughts with a few folks in random settings, and they encouraged me to share them with a wider audience, so here goes:
1) Just start already (and when you do, stick to it)! The phrase “50% of success is just showing up” definitely applies when you are just starting out. Once you get over the initial hurdle of simply starting, be consistent. “But no one is even reading,” you might say. Well, that may be true, however, establishing good habits and sticking to a defined schedule from the start will go a long way in ensuring you continue this pattern later on. And consistency is immensely important! Creating a webcomic, and assuming you actually want people to read it, is like making a promise. Fail to deliver (or forget to set expectations appropriately when you know in advance you are going to miss a comic or two) is devastating to your readership – especially when you are first starting out.
2) Don’t expect to get rich quick. In fact, don’t expect to make any money at all. If making money is the driving force behind your decision to start a webcomic, you are likely going to be incredibly disappointed. The truth is, webcomics are a fickle enterprise at best. There are tens of thousands of webcomics vying for eyeballs, and given the relative ease with which users can hop around, it is pretty difficult to amass a large & loyal following right from the get go. Due to this, your webcomic is probably going to end up costing you money instead of making it – possibly forever. The incredible success stories like Penny Arcade or XKCD are far few and in-between, and require the right mixture of good timing, exceptional quality, and prey luck. But, that doesn’t mean you should immediately give up! Creating something like this should be fun – and as long as it is, don’t worry about pageviews, ad clicks, or anything else beyond creating a great webcomic. In time, people will come around – or not. Either way, just have fun and don’t take things too seriously.
3) Surround yourself with like-minded individuals. By this I mean – take advantage of the massive, relatively helpful, and instantly accessible webcomic community. Most of us (usually) generally nice people. Reach out on Twitter and Facebook. Ask questions. Comment. Blog about how you do what you do or lessons you’ve learned. This type of good will generally finds a way of coming back to you – whether through other creators talking about your work an encouraging their readers to give you a look-see, getting a difficult question answered, or simply building a network of other creators who keep you going when you’re not feeling particularly inspired.
If you know someone who is a new creator, or simply think this advice is worth sharing – feel free to pass this along. And, if you want to get in touch, have a question, or would like to tell my I’m crazy, comment below, drop me a line: contact[AT]blomiclum.[COM], or follow me on the Twitters: @Blomiclum